Road Node 101 :: Techniques for Road Warriors

Road Node hit Deadwood, SD, just in time for the Sturgis Rally that roared down the road a'piece, and an evening's worth of vloggersation with Scott Prentice, the godfather of South Dakota vlogging.

A bit about road technique.

Huge road challenge: keeping tools handy.

Solution: the tool belt with cellphonecamera (Nokia 6682) and iPod/Griffin iTalk mic/speaker in tow. Camera optional but always nearby.

The advance recording of sound effects / sound tracks independent of footage - used to shape the footage sometimes, holds. Record a bunch of sound tracks before rolling a single foot, apart from arrivals. Arrivals are nearly always captured.

Four days without access to electricity at the Grotto was challenging and even today, cellphone footage from the way-off-the-grid action awaits attention. Have finally bluetoothed the things to the mac, which is full-to-the-brim with footage and sound tracks.

Once in situ, I tend to try to reduce the actual amount of time spent filming to a bare minimum. Lifepractice tells me that being in the moment builds knowledge & trust with the cast; knowledge & trust help set up potential moments.

Props. Just one something or other can take the cast out of the cerebral, and afford the soft intellectual focus that differentiates a fine performance from one that is 'acted' and less authentic.

As you suss out the situation, look for repetitions - rhythms & rhymes if you will. Rhyme & rhythm form the basis of storytelling with motion pictures.

At Geek Camp, I noticed the intensity of folks' gazes. The answer to, "Where is the story," was "in the eyes". Dig?

At the Ozark Grotto, on swimming jaunts to the river, I used the iPod/Griffin iTalk mic/speaker to good effect. Will post some interviews and sound bytes soon.

Spent an hour unexpectedly iChatting with MMeiser. An electrical extravagance indulged by virtue of my surprise at having gotten online via cellphone modem with only two bars. Having on arrival given up any idea of digitizing, editing, or email-writing, I did make time to drive into Rolla one evening to a restaurant, but mostly in order to plug all the tools in for an hour as I drove.

Kept a vehicular power strip in place with the DC/AC lighter-powered inverter.

Also maintained a $20 box-with-retractable-handle-on-wheels that contained all the bits and pieces I'd need once landed. (Power strip charging station, micsellaneous food, water, tobacco, extra and exposed videotape, bathroom bag.) This was easily taken from the floor of the front seat and transported wherever, with the added benefit of loading on any extra bags for rolling rather than hand-carrying.

Always keep the iPod cable and its small charger, firewire cable for camera --> G4 Mac, saline solution & lip balm in a small zippered case that attaches to a D-ring of the computer case.

Also keep handy an Inverness Cape raincoat that protects armloads of ditital gear and an outdoor Research rain hat. Best $43 I ever spent since the hat keeps rain from sloshing down the neck. Between these two items, I've stopped even thinking about umbrellas. Fold the hat up in the pocket of the Inverness Cape, and you've got a rain protection stragegy with a minimal footprint; the whole works folds up to a 2" x 6" x 8" package.

Here's a link to the Nokia 6682 Cellphone/Camera I use @ Amazon.com. Previous comments about movlogging indicate it's not easy to find. Unfortunately, not all carriers support it.

So, that's the tech report from Road Node 101, folks.



  1. I just discovered, you are a road geek :) Good job on finding this odd stuff. First thing I bought was a car charger for my camera battery.

  2. Good choice, Klaas. I miss having multiple chargers in the vehicle. The PT Cruiser only has one working lighter since it was from a corporate fleet and guess corporations are at war with smokers.

  3. Wow, that's a lot of tool information.

    And the video... definitely a vloggersation. :)

    Vlogging about videoblogging. Interviews are good stuff. I can't believe I didn't know anything about Scott and blackhills.tv. I haven't checked it out yet, just watched the videos... but it's complete hyperlocal / citizen journalism stuff. Can't wait to check it out.


  4. BTW, I think I've always loved the interviews best.

    Will Leurs did a for part mini documentary type series on an sculpter that I really loved. Must have been 6 months ago.

    An Bill Streeter has a whole series of minidocumentaries of interesting people and artists around St. Louis. I think my favorite is one he did on a printmaker there. I think he has a category called "documentaries" on his site.

    What's so great about these to me is they're candid little windows into artists lives, processes, ideas. Nothing better in the world then spending 5 minutes getting to know someone new and interesting. Little windows into others worlds.

    There's probably some other dynamic in this medium that favor it this type of video, like that it's such a personal medium, but I don't know exactly. I just know that I love this style of vlogging.

    Candid, on the spot, contextualized by the happenings around you, personal, simple insights into the people, places, processes, interests and ideas of people making art / vlogs / media / citizen journalism / channels of communication.

    Thanks for sharing. keep em coming. :)


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